Coronavirus Vaccine – Frequently Asked Questions
How Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Work?
Like many other vaccines, the COVID-19 immunization works by providing your immune system with a ‘blueprint’ to create antibodies to fight the virus. This allows your body to reject COVID-19 before it can infect you and cause symptoms. As the vaccine comes in multiple doses, full protection comes after receiving your last dose of the vaccine (typically the second dose).
Who Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The CDC recommends everyone receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To ensure the protection of those most vulnerable to the virus, a phased vaccination schedule has been recommended:
- Phase 1 – High-risk health workers, first responders and individuals with significant higher risk conditions. Older adults living in senior homes may also be included.
- Phase 2 – Elementary, junior and high school teachers and staff, critical workers in high risk settings, individuals with moderate risk conditions, individuals who are homeless or disabled, people in prisons, jails or other close contact facilities, all older individuals not vaccinated as part of Phase 1.
- Phase 3 – Young adults, children, workers in jobs that serve an important function but are not included in Phase 1 or 2.
- Phase 4 – All other persons not included in Phases 1 through 3.
Do I Still Need a COVID-19 Vaccine If I Had the Virus?
Yes. Unlike some other diseases, re-infection is possible. The CDC recommends everyone, regardless of having had COVID-19, receive the immunization. ‘Natural immunity’ from infection is estimated to last 90 days, while immunization provides long-term protection.
Do I Still Need To Wear a Mask and Social Distance Once I’m Immunized?
Yes. Masks and distancing will be recommended for an extended period of time as vaccination efforts continue. The CDC and other health organizations will provide guidance on when masking and distancing guidelines can be relaxed.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
All vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, follow strict guidelines for both safety and efficacy. The CDC and FDA have determined these vaccines to be safe for use. Side effects are generally mild and multiple studies show individuals can receive the vaccine safely and be protected against COVID-19.
How Do I Register For the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Please see our COVID-19 clinic locations page to see if there are any clinics near you. The location page will be routinely updated as more clinics open.
What Types of COVID-19 Vaccine Are Available?
There are two approved COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States. Many more are still in various forms of trials or awaiting approval. These two immunizations are:
- Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine – A two dose immunization with the second given 21 days after the first. The vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives or latex.
- Moderna Vaccine – This immunization also comes in two doses, the second received 28 days after the first. Again, this vaccine contains no latex, preservatives or eggs.
How Effective Is the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Effectiveness can vary by brand of immunization, but COVID-19 vaccines are very effective. Most studies put effectiveness at around the same as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. This means once enough individuals are vaccinated, it should be relatively easy to keep COVID-19 in check.
How Much Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Cost?
Immunizations are being provided by the U.S. government to help ensure as many individuals are vaccinated as possible. All costs will be carried by insurers or the government itself. Per the CDC, no one will be denied immunization based soley on inability to pay.
Where Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination efforts are taking place across the U.S. Please see our COVID-19 immunization locations page to see where clinics may be in your area.
Which COVID-19 Vaccine Is Best?
The CDC, FDA and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have approved the use of multiple vaccines. No one vaccine is considered ‘better’ than another, all vaccines approved for use in the U.S. provide comprehensive protection against COVID-19.
Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Yes! The CDC recommends individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding to receive the vaccine. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns specific to your medical history.
What Are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Much like other immunizations, side effects are generally mild. They can range from pain and redness at the injection site to tiredness and headache. Rarely will these interfere with daily activities. As with other vaccines, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and exercise the injected arm.
Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Given With Other Immunizations?
Wait at least 14 days before receiving an immunization once you have gotten your COVID-19 vaccine. If you have received a vaccine (like influenza or shingles) before getting your COVID-19 shot, be sure to wait 14 days before being immunized against COVID-19.
Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Give You COVID-19?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine uses antibodies to help train your body in how to prevent infection, there is no active COVID-19 in the shot.
What Are the Ingredients of the COVID-19 Vaccine?
All COVID-19 vaccines are made from three key components:
- Lipids – These are the meat of the COVID-19 vaccine. Lipids allow the vaccine to enter cells and start training the body on how to prevent the virus.
- Salts – Various forms of salts are used to help balance the acidity of the vaccine and allow your body to accept it.
- Sugar – Also known as sucrose, sugar helps the molecules in the vaccine maintain their shape during freezing.
Will I Need a Second Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine? When Will I Need It?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available require two doses for complete protection. When the second dose is due will vary based on the exact vaccine you receive. Your second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine for your first dose, you will need to receive the Moderna vaccine for your second dose. Individuals are provided with dosing and scheduling information at the time of their appointment.
Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If I Have Food Allergies?
Unlike many other immunizations, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives or latex.
Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If I Have Medical Allergies?
Individuals who have allergies to latex, preservatives and some common medications may often still receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Be sure to fill out your intake form at the time of vaccination and discuss any health issues you may have with your care provider.
Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Stop Transmission?
The COVID-19 vaccine, like other immunizations, will help stop transmission of the virus, but it is not the only way. It is important that individuals maintain social distancing, wear masks and take other precautions until a large enough portion of the population is immunized for viral spread to stop.